Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Nighttime, circa 1990s, Cubao at its most chaotic. At Araneta Center, by the jeepney stop, I was as usual scuffling to get a ride. It was drizzling and I had 10 kg of grocery I had to bring home, which, an hour into the wait, had begun to weigh like a ton of lead. I was starting to feel light in the head with hunger and heavy on the chest with anger. I was being beaten soundly to the climb by younger, more sprightly, more shove-savvy rivals, all desperately thinking of home and dinner.

Time to unleash my secret weapon.

Which is simply whispering:

Oh, Holy Spirit, thou who makes me see everything and show me the way to reach my ideal ...”

Before I could say “amen,” a jeepney unloaded one -- just one -- passenger right by me, with the other desperadoes out of jostling distance. I didn’t even have to clamber up; I had the luxury to climb royally as though the seat had my name embossed on it.

I call it my “dyipni mantra” and it works like a charm.

I don’t always use this prayer ... only when I get desperate enough. I don’t like to bother the Holy S unnecessarily. And I have this OA scruple about having an unfair advantage over other people.

At the workplace, I am sometimes called an MVP ... Most Voluble Valuable Pahinante. I got that title for doing work in record time and doing it while fussing and fuming.

What they don’t know is that I get not a little help from the great father of all MVPs, my Most Venerated Partner and friend who is always within whispering distance. All I have to do is mumble:

We’re in this together.”

When I get stuck or blocked writing, I simply tell my MVP: We’re in this together.”

When I’d get my priorities confused and would rather text-blog or text-twist than text-straight to do a report or story: “We’re in this together.”

When I’d rather go for lobotomy than face an audience for a lecture or presentation: “We’re in this together.”

When I coordinate a big project and Murphy’s “all things that can go wrong will go wrong” law threatens to sabotage my show: “We’re in this together.”

I had this project in Naga last year that required me to meet with 10 peoples organizations and interview over a hundred of their officers and beneficiaries. When I came home I couldn’t make heads and tails of my voluminous notes. Unable to make even just a false start, I was sure I was at a dead end and therefore a very dead duck. Secretly, I began to calculate how much my trip had cost the office and was about to refund the amount so I could drop the project guiltlessly.

But I remembered in time to whisper my MVP mantra. Before the day ended, I had three pages of a rough but coherent beginning of a report.

By far the most powerful mantra I have is the one I reserve for important examinations. This was the mantra I gave my children when they took the UPCAT, the NMAT, the engineering board. It will be the same mantra I will give to a daughter when she takes the LAE next year and to another when she goes for the medical board the year after next.

It has worked 90 per cent and it goes like this:

God is the light with which I see
God is the mind with which I think
Wherever I am, whatever I do
God is with me.”

I have come to the conclusion there’s no desperation nor worry nor trouble so foul it can’t be whispered away. Whispering hope -- I sometimes call the technique.

I got a few more mantras for other occasions.

Don’t give yourself too much credit” – for when I find myself about to be convinced I am really voluble and valuable and beginning to strut like a diva.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and all stuff are small” -- for when I become too much of an old grouch with a gigantic grudge against the world.

This too shall pass away” -- for when life stinks so badly all the other mantras don’t work.

What you do for the least of my creatures you do it for me” – for when I feel too imposed upon, drained out, and aid-fatigued.

You -- how do you whisper your woes away?


Gina said...

When something seems so out of reach and impossible to achieve,
When I feel overwhelmed and inefficient ,I call to mind this saying from Og Mandino's book, The Greatest Salesman in the World: "Nothing will overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough."
It keeps me focused.

myepinoy said...

I am not a religious person but I have something also "in times like this (mag juicy fruit ka)"

So here it goes:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust your highest power
that you are exactly where you are meant to be
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you
May you be content knowing you are a child of God
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.

I summarized this as : "May the Force be with you or be with me."

ScroochChronicles said...

I may not admit but more often than not, I too am faced with Murphy's Law or as I would like to call it, the SNAFU principle. Lagi yan, magaling lang akong mag-pretend na ok ang lahat. (di ba showbiz nga)

Anyway, when this happens I just call on Pareng Jess and whisper, "BIL" (Basta ikaw Lord). I learned this in school (some Jesuit university) back when I was in college. It's been working for me, so far :)

ladycess said...

i have a couple of mantras too. when a situation is too difficult i'm on the verge of giving up , or when i find it hard to accept a person's less than desirable parts of himself, i say this verse from sirach:

everything made by the Lord is good,
He meets every need at the proper time.
No one should ask why things are as they are.
Everything in life has its purpose.

i say it again and again, and then for some reason, my heart softens or my pov brightens up.

Leah said...

When I feel endangered, or feeling scared. I always pray what my dad taught me "Jesus Cristo, Salvador del Mundo, salva me Amen". It calms me!

I know a prayer always work.

Chateau said...

Though I love all your mantras, I love the last one best. “What you do for the least of my creatures you do it for me” - It's one I've learned eons ago in college, forgotten through the years, and relearning once again.

I told you earlier I have Sanskrit mantras given by my FIL. I have one that's supposed to make me more compassionate. There's one for protection and health; another for bringing me closer to Budhhahood (serious!)

My newest mantra: "I am patient. I am loving. I am gentle" (1M x) :D

Am loving this inspirational series you seem to be doing here ha! :)

Chateau said...

the mantra for exams, thanks for sharing it. I will copy it and give to Pat and Vera. You think it will work? V can now memorize 3-stanza poems so this mantra i'm sure she will be able to memorize too!

vernaloo said...

I've always been big with "this too shall pass" because they always does :)

Annamanila said...


Yes, Og Mandino is a rich source of inspiring, healing, calming words too. Thanks. I love what you quoted. I agree: Nothing can overtake us if we don't allow it too.

Annamanila said...


Thanks for the quotes. You don't run out of these and you paraphrase and interpreet them wonderfully.

Annamanila said...

Scroochie cookie!

Pareng Jes is so cool, isn't he? I am glad to know you are also whispering buddies. :) BIL -- i will remember that. TY

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess!

This is just too much ... I am about ton comply a thinvolume from all our favorite and shared mantras. Deighted!

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess

I mean TO COMPILE. Ano ba yan ... ? lol

Annamanila said...


Salvador del mundo -- savior of the world! We are safe, aren't we. Only we forget sometimes. Thanks for this . I love it too.

cathy_bythesea said...

very insightful piece! yes, "this too shall pass" NEVER FAILS. so does, "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference" otherwise known as the serenity prayer.

annamanila said...


I also wish to be loving, patient, compassionate. Your mantra should work for me ... because it is pretty obvious it did for you.

Yes, my exam mantra has worked for me 90 per cent of the time. Vgood doesn't even have to memorize it. All she has to do is read it before the big test.

annamanila said...


Yup, they pass, don't they? Minsan lang we forget ano?

I always say that this is one of the great things about growing old -- that you know that everything passes. In my younger days, I faced 'the end of the world' a hundred times.

Chin up!

Em Dy said...

I say, "Thy will be done".

Somehow, I know that if things are bad now, they too will pass.

Annamanila said...


Aha! Wonderful pacifier -- the Serenity Prayer. Sometimes, it is really difficult to "know the difference," ano?

Thanks, Cathy!

Annamanila said...

Em DY!

Thy will be done translates to acceptance, di ba? Yes, it is one of the secrets to happy living. Detachment, too. Thanks for sharing the mantra that works for you!

jerry said...

So you call these mantras. Prayers or reminders, in other words. I think they are a way of commanding the universe in a positive way and the universe responds and accommodates.

adeline said...

I also have one of my own to share:

Let go. Let God.

Belle said...

how do i whisper my woes away? i always turn to God for comfort and guidance, and He answers.

Gypsy said...

I love your mantras!!Prayer is always the best way through life. For fun, hHere's one more for you..."Don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff!" ;)

Heart of Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing your mantras. There was a time when I always greeted each morning saying out loud, "This is going to be a beautiful day." For some reason, the habit of saying this morning mantra was forgotten. Thanks to your post, I'm inspired to start it again tom. It's nice to start each day with a positive attitude.

dimaks said...

i still feel that after clouds and rains, there will be sunshines :)

ysrael said...


Annamanila said...


You may be right. All we have to is to harness the energy of the universe .. what myepinoy calls the "force." Ty for the insight. :)

Annamanila said...


I like that one too -- let go, let God (take over). Thanks. :)

Annamanila said...

Em Dy!

Exactly. All things are fleeting. Up down and foward and the reverse. Thats what makes life interesting methinks.

Annamanila said...


I can see from your post you have a direct, whispering relationship with Him. :)

Annamanila said...


Sweaty stuff! -- like what? like the uncool among us? What a cool mantra! haha

Annamanila said...


Yes, it is always a beautiful day if we have the right set of eyes to see it with di ba? I also used to have this posted on the wall of my bedroom: "Today, you have the choice to be happy or unhappy. Which will you be?"

Annamanila said...


Some people would even welcome the rain. It's all perspective!! :)

Annamanila said...


Everyone should have what you call a 'dynamic optimism and faith.' Mantras help most people, don't they?

Helge Mikkelsen said...

Hi there

Thanks for looking into my blog. Yes postcard is indeed historic documents and i'm glad to share it into the internet.
I'll tell you a funny thing. My mothers name was Anna with Karina as a middle name - you've heard of Anna Karenina of Russia, I think she was named after her, but my mother was Norwegian as I am.
I hope to see comments again on my blog, so look out for new posts.

Have a nice weekend!

Abaniko said...

In times of extreme stress, I don't whisper. Either I shout or I keep totally quiet. More often than not, it's the latter I do. :)

cacofonix said...

for me it's "Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won't become weary. They will walk and won't grow tired." Isaiah 40:31

hello again anna, great post!

Annamanila said...


Thanks. I really got fascinted with the postcards you showed in your blog. I imagine your collection must be vast.

Thanks for coming by.

Annamanila said...


Tes, you're one cool cat.

Thanks for visiting again. It made my day.

Annamanila said...


Yes, the bible promises great things for us, doesn't it.

Thanks. It's so cool to see you again. :)

monaco said...

whenever the situation calls for it - in times of desperation, stress, anguish, etc. - I just say "Mary help me." I got it from the the Perpetual Help novena.

a friend taught me this one. inside any vehicle I say, "Isa-kotse (or bus,jeep, etc) Mo pong ito ang 'Yong kapayapaan", followed by three knocks on any part of the vehicle. it hasn't failed me yet.

I learned a lot from your blog again. and quite timely too. thanks.

rowena said...

Hi Annamanila, very nice post indeed. My Mantra--(from Desiderata)I am the child of the universe, I have a right to be here. It's sketched on my mind everytime I encountered tons of trials/obstacles in life...

Annamanila said...


That sounds like a good one ha -- "isakotse mo po ang kapayapaan." Will try it.


Annamanila said...


You have a splendid mantra. Truly we are children of the universe who are entitled!! Thanks for sharing this.

exskindiver said...

mine is:
"all will be well"

(and life is too short)

annamanila said...


And ultimately, all is well. :) These things we call fortune or misfortune -- all perspectives.

auee said...

all very good "tips"... I do find myself praying for a ride when I'm stuck hehe

And i tell myself "this too shall pass" when I feel down in the dump

Tani said...

I'll be borrowing some of those mantras, okay? :)

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